_Monday, January 1, 1759_.

One week ago--it was Christmas day--my honored Father ordered to
be brought ...
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_Monday, January 1, 1759_.

One week ago--it was Christmas day--my honored Father ordered to
be brought to him a huge book, in which for many years he has
written with his own hand all the important things which have
happened in our country; also copies of the notable pamphlets,
speeches, manifestoes, public and private letters, occasional
poems, etc., and having placed everything in the order of its
date, he showed us this precious collection and read to us some
extracts. I was much pleased with his idea of recording
interesting facts and circumstances; and as I know how to write
pretty well in Polish and in French, and have heard that in
France some women have written their memoirs, I thought, "Why
should not I try to do something of the kind?"

So I have made a big copy-book by fastening together many sheets
of paper, and I shall note down, as accurately as I am able,
everything which may happen to me and to my family, and I shall
also mention public affairs as they happen, as far as I may be
acquainted with them.

To-day is New Year's Day and Monday, a very proper season to
begin something new. I am at leisure; the morning Service is
finished, I am dressed and my hair is curled; ten is just
striking on the castle clock, so I have two hours till dinner
time. Well, I begin.

I was born in 1742, so I am just past my sixteenth birthday. I
received at the christening the name of Fran├žoise. I have heard
more than once that I am pretty, and sometimes looking in the
mirror, I think so myself. "One has to thank God, and not to
boast," says my gracious Mother; "it is He that hath made us
and not we ourselves." I have black hair and eyes, a fair
complexion and rosy cheeks. I should like to be a little taller,
but they frighten me by saying I shall not grow any more. I am
descended from the not only noble, but very old and illustrious
family of Korwin Krasinski. God forbid I should ever tarnish the
glorious name I am fortunate enough to bear! on the contrary I
should like much to add to its fame, and I am often sorry I am
not a man, as I should then have more opportunities.

The Count, my honored Father, and the Countess, are so sensible
of the grandeur of the Korwin Krasinski family, and they so often
speak of it,--not only they, but our courtiers and our guests as
well,--and it is thought by all to be such a great reproach not to
know precisely about our ancestors, that we all have our heads
full of that kind of information. I can recite the genealogy of the
Krasinskis and the history of each of them as perfectly as my
morning prayer, and I think that I should have more difficulty
in telling the names of our Polish kings in chronological order
than in telling those of my ancestors. The pictures of the most
illustrious are in our hall,[1] but it would take too long to write
about each of them. The first of whom we know anything was
Warcislaus Korwin, from the old Roman family of Corvinus, who,
in the eleventh century, came from Hungary to Poland and was
appointed the Hetman (General-in-chief) of the army of King
Boleslaus II.

[1] They are still in Count Adam Krasinski's palace
in Warsaw.

Having espoused a noble lady of the name of Pobog, Korwin united
his crest--a raven holding a ring--to that of the Pobogs--a hand
grasping a sabre--and such is still our cognizance. His grandson
was the first to take the name Krasinski, that is, _of Krasin_,
from an estate bestowed upon him by the King as a reward for his
bravery; and from that time forward many hetmans, castellans,
woivodes,[2] bishops, etc., made the Krasinski name famous in
Polish history.

[2] Governors of provinces.

One of them, Alexander, in this very same Maleszow Castle where
I am now quietly writing, resisted so bravely a great Tartar
army, in one of its plundering excursions from Asia, that the
chief was obliged to retreat; but before leaving, he sent to the
valorous castellan, as a token of his admiration, the most
precious thing he possessed,--namely, a clock, of very simple
construction, it is true, but a great wonder at that time. This
curious relic, this gift from an enemy,--and he a Tartar, more
accustomed to take than to give,--is still preserved with great
care in our family; I have seen it but twice in my life, my
honored Father keeping it so carefully, and I am sure he would
not exchange it for ten Paris clocks with all their chimes.

This valiant ancestor of mine was killed in a war with Russia,
and left no son.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940012844804
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 3/9/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 83 KB

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